Judith Hoffman

Galleries: dreams - memento mori - FOUND - tools - pinhole - steam iron press

Purple Mountain

Purple Mountain Observatory, ©2007, 6.25 x 5.75 x .75 inches, 300 lb. watercolor paper, acrylics, collage, prismacolor pencils. While making this book I was thinking we are all made of stardust. According to physics.org "almost every element on Earth was formed at the heart of a star." The lines marking the constellations sometimes join to stars on the figures, as if the people are part of the starry sky.

"On top there is an ample terrace surrounded"

This book was originally inspired by a bit of found text in "The Comet is Coming" by Nigel Calder. "In 1600 Jesuit scholar Matteo Ricci, while touring China, wrote about the Purple Mountain Observatory.

The last word of each phrase repeats on the next page. It's a technique that was used in early books to aid the reader.

I made the signatures by hinging together two pieces of 300 pound watercolor paper with tough oriental paper. You may see the slightly darker hinge in the center of the spread above. I wanted to be able to bind single sheet signatures of heavy watercolor paper with a coptic stitch. Since making this book I have found Keith Smith's "Sewing Single Sheets," and like that technique better.

"surrounded by magnificent buildings of old with"

"with instruments both ancient and modern."

"Here some take their stand every night to"

"to observe whatever may appear in the heavens, whether"

"whether meteoritic fires or"

"or comets, and"

"to report them in detail to the emperor."